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Matt Kenseth barely holds off Kyle Larson to win at Dover

Matt Kenseth

Matt Kenseth

DOVER, Del. — Matt Kenseth held off Kyle Larson in a thrilling run down the stretch to win a wreck-filled NASCAR race Sunday at Dover International Speedway.

Kenseth snapped a 17-race winless skid with his 37th Sprint Cup victory — and denied Larson his first win. "I got digging the best I could and tried to hold him off," Kenseth said.

They battled door-to-door for part of the final five laps of the AAA Drive for Autism 400 and the 2003 NASCAR champion picked all the right lines and pulled away at the end. Chase Elliott made a late push and finished third in the No. 24 Chevrolet. Larson matched his career-best finish, and Elliott had the top finish of his rookie season.

Larson, 23, said he had too much respect for Kenseth — who at 44 is older than Larson and 20-year-old Elliott combined — to bump him out of the way late.

"I was trying to do all you could do to get by him without getting into him," Larson said.

The top three were among the few cars intact after several accidents, the worst being one triggered by Jimmie Johnson.

The 10-time winner at Dover failed to jump off the restart because of a faulty transmission. The six-time series champion could not shift the No. 48 Chevy into third gear and 18 cars — stacked and off at full speed — were collected in the melee.

"In my career, I've never had a transmission do that to me," Johnson said.

Martin Truex, who led 47 laps, Kevin Harvick, Dale Earnhardt Jr., and Kyle Busch were among the drivers that had their cars piled up on the concrete.

"I want to get out and punch somebody," Truex said over the radio. "Seriously. Hard. Like, as hard as I can."

Tampa's Aric Almirola said he suffered a broken finger in the wreck, which stopped the race for 11 minutes, 22 seconds.

Sprint Cup points

Through 12 of 36 races. The top 16 drivers, based on wins then points, make the 10-race Chase for the Championship.

Driver PointsBack

Kevin Harvick* 418—

Kyle Busch*** 397 21

Kurt Busch 386 32

Carl Edwards** 381 37

Jimmie Johnson** 370 48

Brad Keselowski** 368 50

Chase Elliott 341 77

Joey Logano 340 78

Martin Truex 336 82

Austin Dillon 315 103

* Wins

Up next

Sprint All-Star Race, 7 p.m. Saturday, Charlotte Motor Speedway, Concord, N.C. TV/radio: FS1; 102.5-FM

Gearhead stats

Winner's average speed: 109.348 mph

Time of race: 3:39:29

Margin of victory: 0.187 seconds

Caution flags: 12 for 65 laps

Lead changes: 19 among 10 drivers

Lap leaders: Harvick 1-42; Edwards 43-46; Harvick 47-120; Edwards 121-130; Kenseth 131; Edwards 132-143; Truex 144-173; Harvick 174; Biffle 175-180; Larson 181-214; Logano 215; Hamlin 216-230; Keselowski 231-279; Larson 280-289; Logano 290; Larson 291-331; Truex 332-348; Edwards 349; Johnson 350-353; Kenseth 354-400

Matt Kenseth barely holds off Kyle Larson to win at Dover 05/15/16 [Last modified: Sunday, May 15, 2016 9:58pm]
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